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We've had a fantastic response since we launched our online suggestion box in January 2008. We know we haven't always been as quick as we could have been in responding to your suggestions, but we're currently implementing strategies to improve our response time. Please keep your comments coming -- you help make us better!

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10 Recent Suggestions


(Sep 23/14) Noise restrictions are not respected in this library too often by a minority of students.
However, this minority is enough to spoil the quiet. It is a huge pain to set up
computer/book/paper/etc in a good spot, only to have someone else come into the proximity 10
minutes later when they clearly should have stayed downstairs.

Too often do people come up with food/chums and begin with raucous laughter... even if they
chose to whisper things would be much better.

I know levels of respect seem to have declined over the years (I remember Thode having dead
silence before in areas), but the noise restrictions must be made more apparent AND enforced
somehow. With a new batch every year, they are either ignorant to the rules (unlikely due to
the many signs posted) or just flat out selfish.

I know its not fun for a librarian to play bad cop, but the message is not received by
some who feel it is their right to act however they wish.

The idea of a group study space/lounge/cafe on the first floor is great, and these people
should be redirected there -- by official staff. I dont see what would be wrong with someone
on duty to take a walk around every so often and remind people of the expectations. People
would get the message after a while and the problem would improve significantly over time.

Thode librarys 2nd floor in particular is a wonderful space:
- open space
- natural light
- an interesting floor layout where you have enough privacy and still feel the energy of
fellows around you doing work
- comfortable seating/temperature/desk space
- good coffee just downstairs

Thank you for taking the time to read my comment.

Library response:

Thanks for sending us your comments. We do appreciate you taking the time to do this. We agree that there can be problems with small groups of people who don't feel they have to abide by the rules and regs as they are laid out. Thankfully there are only a few groups like this, but they can be quite disrupting to those around them. We have tried walking through spaces and asking those who are clearly making too much noise to keep it down, or better yet, relocate to someplace more appropriate for their activity level, but unfortunately we would have to be doing this all the time. I am sure you have seen things quiet down when a staff member walks by then the noise picks up as soon as they have left the area.

We have tried to zone our spaces so that there is a variety of normal/noisy, quiet and silent study space in all three libraries. We do encourage our users to choose the space which best fits their study needs, but this is not always possible. More information on the different kinds of available study space can be found at

One thing we are trying is to have users send an email to to report particularly loud individuals or groups of people. This email is read by the staff on each of the service desks and once received a staff member is dispatched to attend to the problem.

We are looking for different ways to deal with the problem of noise, and are always happy to receive suggestions.  We will monitor the areas as much as possible, but we can't promise a regular patrol.

Glad you like the 2nd floor of Thode! We hope to be able to renovate the lower level at some point to make it a little more comfortable and appealing as well.

(Sep 23/14)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services)

Categories: Study Space, Thode  |  Permalink
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(Sep 18/14) I find that the staff in Innis do an excellent job. The Librarians take the time to listen to you & process your needs quickly and efficiently.

Library response:

(This comment was submitted in the Suggestion Box at the Innis Library Services desk)

Thank you for your comments.  We're happy to hear about your positive experience at our Library Services desk.  I will pass along your comments to the Innis staff. 

(Sep 18/14)
Answered by: Ann Pearce (Supervisor, Information Services, Innis Library)

Categories: Customer Service, Innis  |  Permalink
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(Sep 14/14) The vending machine downstairs does not work and when Williams is closed there is no way to get any water. Even if you walk to MDCL there are no machines that vend water (that I have seen). It would be nice to grab a bottle of water sometimes if possible. Thank you.

Library response:

Thank you for letting us know abuot the vending machines. I will forward your concern to the correct person.

I share your frustration about the access to drinking water near the Health Sciences Library. There is an issue with the library water fountain and the water is unsafe for drinking.

The water in the library washrooms is safe for drinking. The accessible washrooms on both the upper and lower levels have faucets that can accommodate large water bottles. There are also drinking water taps available in the hospital cafeteria and beside the Tim Hortons on the 1st floor of MDCL.


Thank you for taking time to express your concern and feel free to contact me directly if you have any other questions. Thank you.

(Sep 15/14)
Answered by: Jennifer McKinnell (Director, Health Sciences Library)

Categories: Customer Service, Health Sciences  |  Permalink
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(Jul 15/14) Hi, may I recommend that the library purchase a copy of McMaster alumnus Max Haivens important new book: Cultures of Financialization (Palgrave Macmillian 2014). His recent Crises of Imagination, Crises of Power (Zed Books, 2014) is also worth acquiring.

Simon Orpana

Library response:

Thanks for alerting us to these publications..  The library has purchased "Crises of Imagination' as an e-book, and will buy "Cultures of Financialization: Fictitious Capital..." when Palgrave releases it later in August.  Looks interesting!




(Aug 14/14)
Answered by: Janice Adlington (Collections & Information Resources Librarian)

Categories: Books/Journals/Databases  |  Permalink
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(Jun 10/14) Why on earth would McMaster build QUIET STUDY ROOMS beside offices? Students, faculty
members and staff cant study quietly in these spaces which are signed out when they
are built within the zones of offices where people talk loudly! (eg. Study room in
MILLS 310/B and C

Library response:

Thanks for your message. The study rooms on the 3rd floor are Group Study Rooms, not Quiet Study Rooms. The entire west wing of the 4th floor is designated as QUIET, while the entire 6th floor is designated as SILENT. I am sure you will be able to find an appropriate quiet place to work in one of these areas. More information on designated study spaces can be found at

(Jun 10/14)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services)

Categories: Study Space  |  Permalink
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(May 24/14) Its become a joke how disruptive the environment has become in certain parts of
Mills (the second floor is referred to as Club Mills). This seems to be a growing
trend: noisy students being allowed to talk, eat, watch videos on computers that are
meant to be used for education, and do anything but study in the libraries. Now
Thode has a study space in place of its periodicals that will no doubt become a
conversation floor in a similar way. This must stop. Something must be done.

I am a graduate student and thankfully do not have to put up with this kind of thing,
having a quiet study space with respectful student colleagues around me. But, I
remember being in even less tense environments than are becoming more ubiquitous now,
as an undergrad. Back then, it was a quiet study room with a couple of trouble-
makers. Even though I couldnt focus due to the out-of-place noise, being young and
timid (as other studious individuals may be) I didnt have the chutzpah to ask for
respectful silence. It was awful, and a lot of time and concentration was lost due
to this nonsense. And now, the situation is very clearly worse.

Please, staff and management of the libraries: do something. Make it a campaign for
study. Study should be encouraged and supported. Loud fun times should be looked
down upon in the library; noise and disruption should be quelled or expelled. I who
has been and those who now are fed up with being pushed out by disrespectful,
entitled individuals eagerly await a response, and more eagerly await swift action.
Solving this wouldnt cost money, it would only take guts and resolve to preserve and
indeed revive a positive, studious environment that those who truly belong in a place
of learning deserve and should expect.

Kindest regards, especially to those who serve within the libraries and may also be
frustrated with this not so recent trend.

Library response:

Thanks for your message.

We do understand that many students are looking for quiet study space, but just as many are looking for places to work together as a group, or are working on many things at once.

The Library has designated both QUIET and SILENT study spaces in all libraries so students can choose to study in spaces which best meet their needs. As you probably know we have also just introduced a Graduate Study Room to provide a space conducive to the research and study needs of our graduate student population.

We do our best to enforce the rules in these areas, although we do also encourage students to self-police these areas by talking with offenders themselves. We have a notification system in place whereby users can email if they feel a designated area is too noisy and we will send a staff member to speak to the offending individual(s).

More information on these study areas can be found at

We do monitor the use of our spaces throughout the term and make adjustments as necessary.

Hope this helps provide a better picture about where the Library is coming from on this topic.

Anne Pottier, Associate University Librarian

Updated response: We did launch a RESPECT Campaign last fall to address many of these issues. More information on this campaign can be found at There are plans to expand this campaign in the next academic year.

(Jun 5/14)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services)

Follow-up Comments:

Thank you for the information, it is helpful. After some thought and more investigation, it seems that the issue may not be only about availability or designation of study space. Rather, its how the space is being used. The study spaces are being used as social spaces, not for collaborative work. In fact, the socialization that is happening is damaging to collaborative work, which is the intended benefactor of the space in the first place. The establishment of the email address was an excellent idea. Perhaps in addition, more postings could be made around quiet areas to encourage the self-policing and use of the email address. Would it be possible to look at ways of creating a culture in the libraries to encourage students to be vocal and active (in a respectful, co-operative way of course) about keeping things quiet around them? Going along with the above, there may be a need for heightened awareness of social space locations, as well. Perhaps this could be part of what is done to preserve the right environment of study spaces. Do students know where to go to hang out? Are there enough spaces for this, and are they accessible enough? Of course these latter two issues (availability and accessibility of social space) are outside the scope of the libraries responsibilities, but the first issue (awareness of social spaces and their locations) is something that could be a part of a quiet study space campaign. Thank you again for the information, and for posting my original comment and the response to it! (2014-06-12)

Categories: Study Space  |  Permalink
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(May 20/14) I waited 10 minutes at the farther end of the circulation desk (the end which is near the reserve room) before the staff who was at the desk noticed I was waiting. Is there a way we can get around this issue? Thanks!

Library response:

I'm sorry that you had to wait for service at the desk.  Unfortunately, the setup of the desk doesn't allow staff to easily see when someone is waiting at the reserve station.  Installing a mirror is not feasible as it would still require staff to continually check it.  The best bet is for our library patrons to make their presence known to staff.  Our staff do appreciate it when they are made aware that someone is waiting and are not offended when someone asks for help by saying "excuse me" or "hello" etc.  Please feel free to let staff know you are there.  You shouldn't have to wait for them to notice you.  I will also remind our staff and student assistants to stay mindful and check the reserve station regularly to see if anyone is waiting.

(May 20/14)
Answered by: Lynn Schneider (Supervisor, Circulation & Collection Maintenance, Health Sciences Library)

Categories: Customer Service, Health Sciences  |  Permalink
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(May 20/14) Can there be more printsmart paystations please!

Library response:

PrintSmart is a campus-wide networked printing/copying system and is not a library service.  As such, those overseeing PrintSmart have changed the method of payment to add value to your account.  In May, they went to an online only payment system ( The advantage is you can now pay at any computer with Internet access rather than having to come into the campus libraries.  If you have any questions or concerns about the service, I recommend contacting PrintSmart directly

(Jun 2/14)
Answered by: Neera Bhatnagar (Head of Systems, Health Sciences Library)

Categories: Customer Service, Health Sciences  |  Permalink
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(Apr 17/14) Can we get more plugs for cubicles in Mills (especially 4th and 6th floor)? Sometimes
its really difficult trying to find a seat with a plug nearby and we are forced to
find somewhere else to study

Library response:

Plans are underway to do this work over the summer months.

(Jun 5/14)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services)

Categories: Study Space, Mills  |  Permalink
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(Apr 15/14) Hello, the 6th floor today is really cold, please is there a way it can be adjusted? I
wearing my coat to study right now

Library response:

Hello - we did open the dampers yesterday to get some more air circulating when it was so warm. These have been shut but it might take a while to get the temperature back to where it should be. Unfortunately it takes a while due to the age of the building and its mechanical systems.

(Apr 15/14)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services)

Categories: Temperature, Mills  |  Permalink
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